RIDERS from leading stables are gearing up for the National Guard Endurance Horseride Championship to be organised by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) on Saturday at 6am at the Bahrain International Endurance Village premises in Sakhir.
This is the second event of the 2007-08 season and will include the first women's race of the season to be held over 100 kms.
Al Fateh Stable will be one of the leaing teams taking part in the women's race with Shaikha Muneera bint Salman Al Khalifa and her sister Shaikha Najla bint Salman Al Khalifa top contenders for the individual title.
The sisters had a month-long extensive training programme under their father and coach Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa.
The sisters have thanked Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa for his support in organising the women's race.
Shaikh Nasser earlier said the Royal Endurance Team will not be allowed to participate in the event. This decision was taken with a view of providing an opportunity for other stables to take part in a high profile event like this.
The federation, meanwhile, have received confirmation from several stables, including the Kingdom's Stable from Saudi Arabia who will be taking part in this event for the second successive year.
The women's team include Alya'a Al Huwaiti, Latifa Al Shaikh, Noora Al Yousif, Sara Baban and team head Najeeb Al Burjus. The Saudi team will be sponsored by the Kingdom Holding Company chairman Prince Al Waleed bin Talal.
The event, to be held under the patronage of National Guard chief Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa, will be divided into four stages - the first two stages will consist of 30 kms each, the third will be over 25 kms and the fourth 15 kms.
A men's race over 100 kms will also be held besides two qualifying races over 85-kms and 60-kms open to new riders and horses.
The 85-km race will be divided into three stages, 30 kms for the first two stages and 25 kms for the third while the 60-km event consists of two stages, each over 30 kms.
Among the top riders taking part in the men's race is Isa Ali who will be riding Silver Fox, owned by Zaynab Isa. Ali said he is confident of achieving a good result in the race.
Registration will continue tomorrow till the commencement of veterinary tests at 2.30pm at the Endurance Village in Sakhir.
The organising committee earlier approved the technical and judging teams for the championship.
The judging committee will be headed by Abdulsamad Al Busta and include Ghalib Al Alawi, Haider Al Zo'bi, Ali Ghuloom and assistant judge Haider Rafii.
The official commissioner is Mohammed Dadulla who will be assisted by Mahmood Abdulsaheb and Fahad Al Rumaihi.
Dr Abbas Al Haiki was named head of the veterinary committee which includes Ibrahim Yousef, Abu Obaida Adam, Mohammed Al Hammad, Mohammed Safi, Khalid Ahmed, Adam Sabeel, Abdulrahman Abulshook, Farida Abdulrazzaq, Sabad Al Ka'ab, Mirghani Jelani and Ahmed Dhaif.